Steve Flint didnt shed any tears, but he poured plenty of sweat and a little bit of blood into his record-breaking finish Saturday morning.
Flint cruised to an easy first place at the annual Steamworks-Animas Valley Half Marathon in 1 hour, 11 minutes, 49 seconds, breaking Jacob Bores 2007 record of 1:12.20 and speeding in 3 minutes ahead of the next fastest man.
It was tough, said Flint, wiping blood from his nose onto his shirt. A half marathon is never a cake walk.
The Bayfield High School graduate couldve fooled the crowd: He hardly was winded after his finish.
Flint, who now runs for Brigham Young University and is back in the area to work for the summer, said he just tried to go out and hit 5-minute, 30-second mile splits for as long as he could.
And it worked, keeping him on his record-setting pace as he ran through the line and into the arms of his grandmother, Susan Terrill-Flint, and his wife, Jessica.
Its just too exciting for words, said Terrill-Flint after giving the sweaty runner a hug. Weve watched him run since he was in middle school.
Hes everything a grandma would be proud of, she said of the 2005 state high school cross country champion.
Flints pace also pulled along Logan Ott, a Fort Lewis College and Mancos High School alumnus who won last years race in 1:15.33. His 1:14.24 was good enough for second this year after Flint broke away from him after the 4-mile mark.
Still, Ott said the course always is a favorite.
Shady, straight, downhill, Ott said. I couldnt ask for much more.
Durangos Jay Johnson, who took second last year, finished third in 1:18.50 as he worked to keep up with the quick pace.
In the womens field, Kara Barnard didnt have the luxury of chasing a pacesetter; she was all by herself over the rolling, rhythmic hills with only some barnyard creatures for company.
I was in no mans land. It was the sheep that were like Maaaaa! Barnard said. I was like Say something to me!
The bleating must have helped some; Barnard finished almost a full 6 minutes ahead of her competition in 1:25.15.
Not good enough for her own little demons, she said, but first is first.
Oh its always good to be first, of course, Barnard said with a bright chuckle. What kind of question is that?
Still, she made it look easy. Maybe because those beautiful 13.1 miles arent so gnarly compared to the Boston or Los Angeles marathons, both of which Barnard, whos from Los Angeles, has checked off her list.
I sprinkle my life with marathons here and there, said Barnard, a Durango transplant who plans to pound Bostons Heartbreak Hill again next year now that shes finished her third Steamworks Half Marathon. Boston is brilliant.
Andra Battocchio was the first anyone to cross the line, though.
Battocchio started with the early, walking group to be with some of her friends, and she just kept running ahead of the mens field.
I thought, Theyll catch me; theyll catch me, Battocchio said.
But they never did.
Ive never done a race where I was out front the whole time, she said. And itll probably never happen again.
Elisa Mullikin is more accustomed to being somewhere out front.
A Western State runner who said shes only had two weeks of long distance training since the end of track season, Mullikin finished second in 1:31.07 faster than her runner-up 1:34.50 from last year.
Molly Hummel was third in 1:32.42 before clusters of the full 300-person field began to run, jog and stumble across the finish as the cool morning air gave way to ever-soaring heat.
I think runners are a little bit masochistic, Barnard said. You have to get over the pain. If you can get over that, you can get over anything.